The New Orleans Pelicans today announced a new partnership where the former New Orleans Arena will henceforth be called the “Smoothie King Center” (or at least for the next 10 years, budgets permitting). This is a big deal for the team and for the city, and follows last year’s renaming of the iconic Superdome as the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Not coincidentally, both deals were made in years that the city was hosting big events – last year’s Super Bowl in the dome, this year’s NBA All-Star Game in the arena.
From a fan standpoint, while “Smoothie King Center” may not be as compelling as “Madison Square Garden”, I’m sure the Pellies fans will come up with a number of great nicknames for the building. Personally, I’m pushing the “Big Smooth”, but could also see the “Mixing Bowl”. I’m sure you all can come up with your own ideas. But the brand name itself doesn’t immediately make me feel that this is the home of an NBA-Championship Caliber team.
Of course, it’s still probably better than the KFC Yum! Center, the home of the Louisville Cardinals. One of the more interesting things about that building is that Papa Johns has a sponsorship with the school, meaning that the pizza stands go two ways. Signage can be flipped for Cardinal games to sell Papa Johns, but Pizza Hut (a Yum! brand) for everything else. How’s that for baking your pizza and eating it too?
What’s your favorite (and least-favorite) sponsored stadium name?